There was a very old man in Jerusalem who God was speaking to, through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had been quiet for 400 years. No new prophets or prophecy had been revealed and yet he spoke to this man, his name was Simeon, and God promised Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the messiah.
Simeon was prompted by the Holy Spirit to go to the temple. Joseph and Mary had brought the baby Jesus to the temple to offer the sacrifice for a first born baby boy.
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.
Luke 2:25-33 – NIV
Simeon was not just looking for a savior for the Jewish people but be he looked further ahead, to a light also for the Gentiles which meant everyone else. Simeon saw God’s heart for lost people and saw Jesus as the hope and salvation for all people everywhere, for Jews and for gentiles.
Jesus is that light.
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
John 8:12 – NLT.
This “song of Simeon” brings me back to my childhood. I was s Lutheran and as part of the liturgy the pastor would sing this song. It was a blip of time in the service but it always touched me. The song had four or five notes and was sung as a chant. It was only later in life that I connected the song in liturgy to place in the Bible.
One last thought about this. The verse says Simeon was very old. From the context I believe we can deduce that God had given the promise of seeing the messiah to him when he was a young man. Years went by. No messiah. I think that Simeon may have had doubts about whether or not he heard God correctly. He is alone in the Bible passage, this may mean that he had outlived his friends, maybe outlived his wife, and possibly even his children but he hung onto the promise and continued to come to the temple to find “the light for revelation”. This tells me that God keeps his promises. It also tells me that waiting can be and usually is part of God’s plan.
Now we are waiting for the return of the light. God hasn’t forgotten. He will come back. It may be soon. Are watching and waiting and working while you wait?